Pantser Vs. Planner…shall the two ever meet?

by | Jun 19, 2015 | writing

Are you a Pantser or an Planner? These are terms I didn’t really know a couple of months ago, but have become all the rage in my writing circle lately. Thankfully, the writer’s conference I attended this month did a presentation on exactly what these terms represent.

plannerPantser. This person writes “by the seat of their pants”. They just write. No plan, no outline, no script for where things are going to go. They just let the work flow out of them.

Planner (or Plotter). This person plans out their book, outlining their writing sessions, scripting everything. They know where they’re going to go before they get there.

I’ve heard it proposed that all writers are some amount of both of these. I would say that you definitely lean more heavily one way, but I can agree that you retain some element of the other side in your writing. Even the Pantser makes notes and has some idea of where the story is going. The Planner (Plotter) will discover something new as they write, they will “push the envelope”.

So, what about me? I am definitely a Pantser with some element of an Planner. I have a general outline of my story with dates of significant events laid out (as I am a Historical Fiction writer) and some idea of the scenes that are coming. But, by and large, the work flows out of me. I let it come. After all, as someone once said “how can I know what I think until I see what I say?”

I hear over and over again, that to gauge which one you are, just look at your life. What you are in life is usually what you are as a writer. That rule does not hold for me. Those of you that know me know that I am a list maker in my daily life. And I live and die by the list. I would NEVER go to the grocery store without a list. Just thinking about that gives me some serious anxiety. Really…I need a moment to breathe here. So, in life, I’m definitely an Planner/Plotter.

What about you? Which way do you lean? It’s important to understand your own creative process. This only makes your writing stronger…the way you carve out your time and set the stage for your (sometimes very limited) writing time. So, if you don’t know, I’d look into it some more and give it some thought. Maybe this is old news to you, maybe you, like me, are new to this concept. Either way….happy pantsing or planning!!

"Sign up for my newsletter and get a FREE copy of the Hope in Cripple Creek prequel novella!"

Sara R. Turnquist